The bus coming from the Central Prison at Hattieville to Belize City’s Magistrate and Supreme Courts is a well-known sight, and so too are the family members who come to court to encourage their imprisoned loved ones and offer them some of the comforts of home, whether money, clothes or even food.
There are strict rules instituted by the courts and Police Department to regulate such deliveries. But on Monday morning, one family alleges, their loved ones were targeted with pepper spray, after a police officer refused to allow them access to give the prisoners money.
Allison Broaster is the mother of 22 year old Ernest Thurton Jr., one of the prisoners. She gives us her account of what happened.
[Paraphrased] “We were out there when they bring down the guys from prison. They are not problem guys. They were asking to get some money from me, and the officer pulled out the pepper spray and he started spraying them.”
“How are these boys related to you?”
“Ernest Thurton is my son and Jasper is a close friend and “Jungle” is also a friend too. We were asking for them to get $10, and the officer says that my son always give problems, and he just start to pepper spray them for no apparent reason, in their eyes.
They took them back at the prison with no water to wash their faces. If my child becomes blind now, what will happen about that?”
Also allegedly hit was 24 year old Jasper Brannon. Ernest Thurton, son of late cyclist Ernest “Dangalang” Thurton Sr. and Jasper Brannon are remanded on murder charges for the deaths of 43 year-old Robert Young and 35 year-old Frank James at the dockyard on North Front Street in October of 2012.
Allison Broaster says the young men were giving no trouble, but it goes back to the officer who she says has an attitude problem.
She called on the authorities to do something about him.
“I really want them to deal with that one, because he is the main one. Every time he has a problem. I don’t know if it’s only with my son, Ernest Thurton, or if it’s all the boys that come from prison.
The boys were already in handcuffs, so they couldn’t harm the officer, but they pepper-sprayed them and started beating them, also in the vehicle.
There were three of them plus the driver of the van.
The whole van was full and they sprayed the van, so they had to take everybody out of the van, and let the van air out before they put them back in and transported them.”